Many people believe that technical writing is "writing about computers." While many technical writers do write about computers, this definition is inaccurate because it ignores the many other fields in which technical writers are employed. Companies in a variety of industries hire technical writers. During your career, you'll probably get a chance to partner with companies in the following fields and industries:
Computer hardware: The actual physical components of a PC - the mouse, screen, keyboard, hard drive, etc. - are considered computer hardware. You may be asked to write installation guides for hardware add-ons like microphones and speakers, general user guides, or troubleshooting guides for individual pieces of hardware.
Computer software: The computer software industry is absolutely massive. All of the programs that users run on their computers - operating systems, Internet browsers, word processing programs, games, etc. - are considered computer software. Technical writers develop help files and FAQs, installation guides, user guides, and other literature designed to help users get the most out of various software programs.
Robotics: Currently, robots are used in a variety of industries. Industrial robots are used to complete manufacturing tasks, for example, while robots used by the military complete dangerous tasks like locating and defusing roadside bombs. Technical writers, in addition to writing general assembly instructions, may prepare reports about new discoveries or advancements in the robotics industry. You might also be asked to write white papers that explain how new types of robots might help solve specific problems or issues.
Finance: Companies that are part of the financial industry, such as banks and mortgage lending companies, often hire technical writers to prepare documents for potential customers or professionals employed in the industry. For example, a mortgage lending company might hire a technical writer to develop a handbook for loan officers that outlines the steps that must be completed before a loan can be approved. That same company might hire a technical writer to prepare a guide for consumers hoping to get approved for a mortgage. As a technical writer, you might also be called upon to prepare business plans and annual reports, which involve writing about a company's current financial situation and developing sales projections.
Chemistry: The chemical industry in the United States is worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Products developed by chemical companies like Dow, DuPont, and Bayer are used in manufacturing processes and agricultural operations. Some chemicals are also used directly by consumers. Technical writers may be brought on board to describe a process used to develop a specific chemical. Companies might also hire technical writers to develop reports about how new chemicals might benefit specific industries.
Consumer electronics: Consumer electronics is an industry that is growing at an incredible rate. These days, almost everybody has a cell phone, and more consumers are purchasing sophisticated electronics like GPS systems and video cameras. DVD players, televisions, and MP3 players are other popular consumer electronics. The incredible expansion of this industry in recent years has translated into numerous opportunities for technical writers. Companies that sell consumer electronics need well-written documents that explain in a straightforward manner how to use these devices effectively.
Last Updated: 05/05/2014